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Return on Summer Feeds
August 29, 2021

From now the 12/02/2021 to end of May there are still 108 days and that still leaves 6 weeks rest when dry for the earliest calvers if calving in middle of July.

108 days at 1.5kgms is potentially 162kgms/cow and at $7.20 is $1,166/cow.

For the average farm of 300 cows that’s potential revenue to the value of $349,920 and 48,600 kgms.

While pasture covers on June 1 along with supplements needed for the winter needs to be considered, let’s not miss out on some serious coin that can be made right now in a good payout.

Holding production and looking after body condition through a dry period can not only lift potential production but also be highly profitable.

1.5kgs @ $7.20 is revenue of $10.80.

On a $5 payout you would need to be doing 2.16kgs/cow to generate the same income.

So, what would it cost to hold the cows at 1.5kgsms?

Hopefully you have summer crop to fill a chunk of the feed gap over this dry period.

If not, one would assume a lower stocking rate and more supplement made in the spring.

Either way, if you are short of grass it’s a good time to consider reducing numbers by culling anything that is surplus such as empty’s and lower producers.

The average cow can do 1.5kgs on 16 kgs DM at 11.2 ME.

Assuming 8 kgs grass, 4 kgs grass silage and 4 kgdm (4.5kgs wet) meal this is very achievable.


Meal @ $450/ton or 50c/kgdm   4kgdm x 50c = $2/cow

Grass 8kgdm x 9cents = 72 cents

Grass Silage 4 kgdm x 45cents = $1.80

Total Cost of diet $4.52

Margin Over All Feed $6.28/cow/day

Cash Flow

Advance $4.85 paid in March for Feb = $7.28 less meal $2 = $5.28/cow/day

Things to consider: –

Your grass silage may have cost you a lot less and many other factors may mean you are milking better on that same feed. Currently some of our clients are still doing between 1.8kgms and 2kgms on around 18kgdm total intake.

Cows under stress and under fed at this time of year can reabsorb the foetus.

Allowing cows to drop at this time of year makes it harder to get a lift when the rain does come.

This feeding may only be short term until covers build up.

Body condition loss now will come at a cost later when you need to put it back on.

Underfeeding now probably means over grazing what pasture you do have making it slower to respond when it rains. (Unless you have lots of rubbish that needs to be eaten first)

Lengthening the round with the use of sacrifice paddocks can help build feed and avoid overgrazing.

If you have a summer crop this can mean less meal fed and cheaper meal fed for the same or better results.

A better-quality feed should not only give a better response but can also help reduce FEIs.

Look carefully to what supplements you need to have on hand for the winter, but on a $7 plus payout its worth looking at the benefit of using some of that now and purchasing more feed later or building better covers in the Autumn with fertiliser/nitrogen.

It might pay to discuss this in advance with your bank manager and have their support.

Payout is looking good.

Capitalise on it while you have it.

 It may not be here next season.

Regards Ken Winter
Technical Support Manager

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